Education: Georgetown University, M.A.
(With mother, Paula Youngman Skreslet) The Literature of Islam: A Guide to the Primary Sources in English Translation (nonfiction), Scarecrow Press (Lanham, MD), 2006.
Also author of Exploring the "New Fiqh": A Sociolinguistic Study of an Islamic Legal Opinion.
Rebecca Skreslet is a scholar of Arabic studies who collaborated with her mother, Paula Youngman Skreslet, on the book The Literature of Islam: A Guide to the Primary Sources in English Translation. Paula worked as a librarian and teacher in Cairo for ten years, so each of the authors brought considerable expertise to her subject. In The Literature of Islam, the Skreslets present works available in English on the subject of Islam. Academic interest in Islam has been on the rise, yet until recently, there were relatively few English translations of scholarly works written in Arabic, Turkish, or Persian. With increasing interest have come more translations, and the Skreslets' guide is intended to help researchers who do not read Arabic to find the best resources available to them. Their intended audience is not the experts who are able to read Islamic works in their original languages, but rather those who have a basic knowledge of the history, beliefs, and cultural forms of Islam and are trying to deepen their knowledge.
The book is organized into sections on the Koran and exegesis of it, traditions of Islam, history, legal theory and law, theology, spirituality, and philosophy. Works cited range from those written in the medieval period to some from the twentieth century; the significance of the originals is explained, and the translations are reviewed. The first chapter of the book reviews the many translations of the Koran and points out the ways that cultural prejudices led some translators to try to correct what they perceived as errors or weaknesses in it. In this and other ways, the book "presents a wealth of information about the encounter of Western scholarship with Islam," remarked S.M. Estelle Holmes in Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries. The Literature of Islam also includes a glossary, bibliography, multiple indexes, and a pronunciation guide. It is, according to Mogens S. Mogensen in a review for the International Bulletin of Missionary Research, "an indispensable tool for scholars who study and teach Islam but who are not proficient in Arabic." Holmes also recommended the book strongly, especially for universities, seminarians, and institutions of higher learning. She stated it would be valuable for librarians seeking to build their collections of translations of Islamic works, teachers of introductory courses, or students of religion or history who seek information on English translations of source material. Holmes called it "an accessible guide to an extensive and difficult to access literature."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, October, 2007, S.M. Estelle Holmes, review of The Literature of Islam: A Guide to the Primary Sources in English Translation, p. 254.
International Bulletin of Missionary Research, July 2007, Mogens S. Mogensen, review of The Literature of Islam, p. 164.
Reference & Research Book News, February, 2007, review of The Literature of Islam.
Scarecrow Press Web site,http://www.scarecrowpress.com/ (January 26, 2008), biographical information about Rebecca Skreslet.